While I have no doubt this will cause a mixed reaction for fans of DC Comics character, young awkward-comedy actor Michael Cera has signed a multi-picture contract to play the title character in The Flash for Warner Bros./DC Entertainment.
From what we're told, plans are now in place, with both Ryan Reynolds and Michael Cera optioned for extra pictures, for each actor to have their solo character films come out in 2011, paving the path for the Superman reboot and Batman 3 to follow the year after. The four character movies are set to feature major guest appearances, and will ultimately lead to a Justice League team-up film.
There were rumors about a possible delay on The Flash back in October, but those were shot down by screenwriter Dan Mazeau, as they were actually in the final stages of finishing the story and script.
The folks at Warner Bros. are very excited about Mazeau's screenplay (with a consulting and story treatment by Geoff Johns) and are fast-tracking the film for a production start late this summer, with a release next Fall. Warner Bros. is also in the process of finalizing the negotiations with Greg Berlanti (he helped write Green Lantern) to helm The Flash and some more official announcements will hit next week.
We're told that Warner Bros. wants to kick off the summer 2013 with Justice League, but the one hitch is trying to get a Wonder Woman project off the ground. They wanted to have that come sooner, but troubles with the script and finding the right story made them jump on the opportunity to do The Flash first.
As for the leading actor, Cera is coming off a busy two years and with the great buzz surrounding his role in Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (check out the trailer to see why), the studio wanted to ensure they got a bankable, recognizable and likable young star to play the role and keep the movie entertaining. The studio is taking the "Iron Man approach" with both Green Lantern and The Flash, in that they'll be quite a bit lighter than the upcoming darker and gritter takes on Superman and Batman.
If you're unaware of the story for The Flash movie, here's the plot summary, courtesy of a DCE/WB press release:
While touring the crime scene lab of his uncle, Barry Allen, teenager Wally West is doused in chemicals after a lightning bolt strikes them, which enables him to run faster than any other human being on earth. Becoming the Flash, Wally sets out to protect the people of his city from the villainous threats that arise.
DCE/WB is taking no chances in casting the leads for all of their comic book movies, with Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan and now Michael Cera as Wally West. I think Cera is... an interesting choice for the part but I'll say that he'll definitely need to bulk up big time over the summer.
With the trend in casting so far, we can expect a recognizable star to get a chance at playing the Man of Steel as well, in the reboot of Superman. He'll definitely be the most difficult hero to cast for the studio.
What do you think of the choice to play our favorite lightning-fast hero in red?
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes